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‘Godless’ Composer Carlos Rafael Rivera Shares His Scoring Process

Bursting onto the Netflix scene last fall, Godless is a hot contender for nominations when the 70th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards nominations are announced next month. In addition to its fantastic performances and visual appeal, its music composition is receiving significant acclaim. Scored by composer Carlos Rafael Rivera, Godless the soundtrack will be available July 6 as a digital download.

But viewers don’t have to wait until July to understand the rhythms of the luscious score. Rivera recently released two You Tube videos that explains his process around creating scores for both characters and the overall story. These videos provide a unique window into the scoring process – one that viewers rarely see.

So, take a look at the two videos and get ready for the Godless soundtrack release set for July 6 on digital platforms, courtesy of Netflix and BMG.



Featuring Original Music by Composer Carlos Rafael Rivera

[June 12, 2018 – Los Angeles, CA] BMG presents the GODLESS – Original Netflix Limited Series Soundtrack to be released digitally on July 6, 2018. The album features original music by composer Carlos Rafael Rivera (A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES). Grammy award- winner T Bone Burnett served as the executive music producer.

GODLESS is the second collaboration between composer Rivera and Executive Producer/Writer/Director Scott Frank. “We’ve found an unusual approach in which he’ll send me the screenplay, early on during pre-production, and I will begin scoring the written word, not picture,” explained Rivera. “We call these ‘script movies,’ because I make a QuickTime of the screenplay, and start scoring it. What’s really cool about this is that it helps us realize what doesn’t work, while helping set the tone of the storytelling.”

In GODLESS, notorious criminal Frank Griffin (Jeff Daniels) and his gang of outlaws are on a mission of revenge against Roy Goode (Jack O’Connell), a son-like protégé who betrayed the brotherhood. While on the run, Roy seeks refuge with hardened widower Alice Fletcher (Michelle Dockery), an outcast herself, in a worn-down, isolated mining town of La Belle, NM — governed mainly by women. When word reaches La Belle that Griffin is headed their way, the town bands together to defend against the murderous gang in a lawless western frontier. Steven Soderbergh and Casey Silver executive produced the series alongside Frank.

To prepare to score GODLESS, Rivera first turned to classic western scores, but quickly realized though that some elements of the traditional western would not work for this series. “Instruments like the harmonica had too much baggage and quickly became cliché,” he said. The main essence of the score became classical guitar (performed by Rivera) with cello (performed by Joy Adams). “I also used an organ and harmonium to set tone. This intimate setting was the core for most of the writing, and served as contrast when orchestral forces were required.”

The two core pieces in essence bookend the story – the main titles and the final scene where the story is resolved. “When it came time to writing a main theme for GODLESS, we tried to find a singable melody, something that we could carry with us and would help encapsulate the story. Having the legendary T Bone Burnett as Executive Music Producer, as well as mix the Main Theme, influenced and inspired my approach to scoring the story,” said Rivera. “Getting to write a theme for Michelle Dockery’s Alice Fletcher was awesome. We wanted the heart of this theme to complement her character’s enduring strength. I am most grateful that showrunner Scott Frank put so much trust in the score, having allowed it to carry the final scene for GODLESS, and help finish telling his story.”

GODLESS is available currently on Netflix streaming devices. BMG presents theGODLESS – Original Netflix Limited Series Soundtrack to be digitally released on July 6, 2018.